Part A, 3-19-13
I had a little bit of a mini meltdown tonight, and my mother echoed back the advice I always give her when something is bothering her: Journal, Journal, Journal.
Since writing my last blog post about depression, I have received SO MUCH support from almost everybody, even total strangers. This can't cure my depression, of course, but it softens the blow to realize how many people care about me and my well-being.
I had been doing okay this week. Not great. Not terrible. Just hanging in there.
The last few days, with my mom's encouragement, I have been forcing myself to do some of the things that I usually enjoy but had given up since becoming depressed.
The automatic advice people give to those with depression is usually "Exercise" or "Do something you enjoy."
There are SO many things wrong with this well-intentioned advice. For starters, this alone will not cure clinical depression. But mostly - doing ANYTHING becomes difficult with depression. With severe depression, you have to pat yourself on the back just for getting out of bed and brushing your teeth. It's not laziness - you really aren't capable of things anymore.
Anyway, I've been REALLY forcing myself to do things. I went to a Bollywood party on Saturday, I took the dogs for a long walk yesterday, and tonight I went to a line dance class that I used to attend nearly every Tuesday - and then I had a mini meltdown.
The fact that I went at all is a big win - but I think I expected too much of myself. I really tried to have fun and enjoy myself. I think I even smiled once or twice.
But I was absolutely incapable of letting loose and ACTUALLY having a good time. My brain and body just aren't ready for that yet. I think being in a place where I have had so much fun in the past and being absolutely unable to truly have fun just broke me apart.
I feel like a shell of a human being right now, like somebody used a Shop-Vac to suck out 75% of my soul. It sucks. Who wants to walk around and experience life as just an apathetic zombie? Not I!
Luckily my mom lives nearby and I was able to stop in and see her. We went on a cruise together about a year and a half ago, and when we went swimming with the dolphins in Cozumel, my mom spent a lot of money on one of the photo book packages that they offered.
After I vented to her and tried to make sense of what I was feeling, she said, "I think it's time for the book."
I had no idea what book she was talking about until she pulled the dolphin book off of the mantel.
Looking at the pictures of the two of us in our swimsuits wearing absurdly tiny life vests and interacting with the dolphin always puts a smile on my face. That cruise was one of the best weeks of my life, and swimming with the dolphins was one of the highlights of the week. I love all animals, but dolphins in particular - I even have a dolphin tattoo that I got when I was in college.
So this book is such a brilliant redirect. I am able to look at the pictures and remember a fun time, and what it is like to be able to have fun and enjoy life, and I am able to have better hope for the future that I will once again be able to enjoy life someday.
PS - I danced at the Bollywood party on Saturday, walked for a brisk half hour yesterday, and danced for an hour-long class tonight - all that exercise did not magically cure my depression. I am going to continue to force myself to exercise - but because it makes my body feel better (my back in particular) and the few weeks I had stopped it all have already caught up to me. Exercise is not the magic cure-all those of you who have never suffered from clinical depression.
Part B - 3-20-13
Dragged myself to the gym after work today. Luckily I had a relatively easy day at work. It was the lowest-energy, most pitiful workout ever - but it was better than nothing.
It is 6:24 PM, and all I want to do right now is take a nap...
Tomorrow night, I am going to a book club meeting with 1 person I somewhat know and 8 strangers. This is something that might make me a little nervous under normal circumstances - but my anxiety level is already ramping up. It's so hard to put on a fake smile and brave face for strangers sometimes.
I long to feel normal again.
I am trying to write a grooming-related post...but I really can't promise when I will be able to get one out. Bear with me for a while, and I promise the dog pics will be back soon!
Anyway, thanks for listening to me ramble.